Huge amounts of audience-targeting work is done before a campaign launch – yet, when it comes to implementation, we’re back to planning based on channel and platform.
This is due to history and, to an extent, the way media owners package their offer. But Mindshare set out to do things differently when it was founded and we continue to focus on connecting clients to real audiences rather than the ABC1s or 16-34s available in the market.
In 2013, we changed our press team to a multiplatform news and magazine "publishing" team. Many have also since merged TV, cinema, radio and video-on-demand units to form audiovisual teams.
But we’ve gone a step further, merging our print and digital display teams to create a new division: Affinity. The two channels naturally go together – news breaks on either channel and gets distributed and amplified on both. People buy a particular magazine or visit a particular website because the content appeals to them and they feel an emotional connection – an affinity.
People naturally resist change and breaking down silos in practice is hard. That’s why so many agencies, despite the talk of change, still look largely the same. But more adaptive and client-centric teams mean people work on fewer clients and in a broader media space. Clients see greater value through economies of scale, without being too reliant on one media partner. And better work too.
Bringing the skills and budgets of print and digital display teams together creates scope for more inventive, award-winning work. While print once had the scale and marketing spend to incentivise innovative ideas, as its scale diminishes, media partners have restricted their own output. It is in cross-channel and device patterns that media partners are now focusing their creativity.
With the growth of programmatic and the rising importance of data, working with publishers gives us the best combination of direct and programmatic buys. Not platform but audience; right place, right time, right person. Direct investment gives publishers more revenue to invest in the content people visit their site for.
The need to be inventive while reaching and engaging your audience regardless of platform seems obvious, yet media agencies cling to silos because this is "how it has always been", even though the way audiences engage with media has changed beyond recognition.
We all know the story behind Our Price, Kodak and Blockbuster, and media agencies are no different. We must stay ahead of – not behind – our clients’ needs.
Adapting to digital brings short-term challenges, but it’s more important to be on the right side of history.
Charlotte Tice is the head of Affinity at Mindshare UK